Gallery: Harpenden keep chase with leaders after dramatic win

PUBLISHED: 10:45 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 10:59 11 August 2014

Dan Blacktopp turns a ball away

Dan Blacktopp turns a ball away

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Two wickets in the final over from Nick Lamb saw Harpenden record a dramatic victory against Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday, and keep the chase for top-spot alive in the final three weeks of the season.

Four batsmen scored 30 runs or more as Nick Lamb’s side set the visitors a target of 211 runs for victory. The drama came at the end of Stortford’s innings as Lamb reduced them to 201-8 with the second ball of the last innings. Lindop and Mark Townsend (1) could only score singles off the next two balls and then, with the final delivery of the innings, Lamb took his second wicket of the day as Stortford closed on 203-9.

The win means Harpenden are joint-second with WGC, who lost to Hemel Hempstead, 12 points off leaders Radlett, with three weeks of the season remaining.

On Saturday, Stortford’s captain Eddie Ballard opted to bowl first against Harpenden’s opening pair of Gregg Cooper and Ben Frazer. The duo saw off the first 35 balls before Tim Smith skittled Cooper (13) with the 36th.

Frazer scored a typically breezy 32 off 29 balls to take the score from 38-1 to 53-2 before he was clean bowled by Smith.

James Latham (6) failed to make an impression on the game but the fourth-wicket pair of Dan Blacktopp and Lamb put on 30 runs. Blacktopp did the majority of the scoring – 21 to Lamb’s nine runs – before he was bowled by Chris Green.

His dismissal brought Will Jones to the crease. In an unbeaten knock of 61, he put on partnerships of 41 and 50 with Lamb (30) and Jake Pankhurst (18), including 17 off the final two overs.

Untypically for the big-hitting all rounder, his strike rate was below 100 as he took 63 balls to score 61. Still, his knock turned out to be the difference between a draw and a loss.

Herts county batsmen and Stortford’s top scorer Ballard lasted just five overs before he was trapped LBW by Jones.

His fellow opener, Ryan Wells, found slightly more success and saw off the next eight overs before his second-wicket partner Taylor Weeks (16) was caught by Cooper off Frazer.

Weeks’ removal, in the 14th over, started a collapse that saw Stortford lose the next three wickets in seven overs. And when Tommy Burslam (3) and Tom Makin (1) fell to Dan Wightman in the 23rd and 28th overs respectively Stortford were staring down the barrel at 96-7.

In Green and Lindop, though, Stortford found two saviours. The pair put on 105 runs in 20 overs to keep the visitors in the game and, in fact, put them on the verge of victory.

But Lamb kept scoring opportunities to a minimum and took two wickets in the final over to ensure 30 points for Harpenden and keep the chase for the top-spot going into the final weeks.


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